Pneumoconiosis is the name for a range of occupational lung diseases caused by working in various dusty environments. Pneumoconiosis occurs when dust is breathed in and retained in the lungs causing lung damage and other health problems. The most common of these include:


This is the most common kind of pneumoconiosis affecting people who have been exposed to asbestos.  Asbestos is made up of tiny needle-shaped fibres which become lodged in the lungs and can cause permanent lung damage.

Coal Worker’s Pneumoconiosis (or “Black Lung”)

This affects coal miners and anyone working with coal.  When coal dust is breathed in, it can damage lung tissue.  The disease gets its name from the way the coal dust makes the sufferers’ lungs appear black.

Kaolin Pneumoconiosis

Kaolin or China Clay is commonly used in the ceramics and paper industries but is also found in certain medicines and cosmetic products.  Kaolin Pneumoconiosis differs from other kinds as suffers can sometimes experience no symptoms.

Siderosis (or “Welder’s Lung”)

Welders and metal workers are prone to inhaling iron particles and other fumes which can cause breathing difficulties.

Byssinosis (or “Brown Lung”)

Primarily affecting those working in the hemp, flax, cotton and other textile production industries, Brown Lung is caused by breathing in dust from vegetable fibres.

Silicosis (or “Potter’s Rot”)

Silicosis is caused by inhaling Silica dust.  Those working in glass, sandblasting, ceramics and glass production are most at risk.


This is a rarer form of pneumoconiosis affecting those working in the aerospace, telecommunications and nuclear industries.  Exposure to beryllium and its compounds can result in chronic lung disease.

Pneumoconiosis Symptoms

Symptoms vary between different kinds of pneumoconiosis, depending on which kind of substance is causing the problem.  For example, Coal Worker’s Pneumoconiosis or Black Lung, causes black coloured sputum. Asbestosis also has unique symptoms including clubbed fingers and abnormalities in the nails.  However, some symptoms are relatively common to all kinds of pneumoconiosis:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Chest pain

Pneumoconiosis Diagnosis and Treatment

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.  Explain that you believe you may have breathed in harmful dust particles and give the doctor a full list of the symptoms you’re experiencing.

In the first instance, it is likely that your doctor will recommend a lung function test and a chest x-ray.  You may also be given a CT scan to determine the presence and extent of disease. If your doctor discovers the presence of any lung disease, you will be referred to a specialist for further tests before beginning treatment.

How to Make a Claim

If you suspect you may be suffering from symptoms associated with pneumoconiosis as the result of exposure to harmful dust in your place of work, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

As there are strict time limits imposed on making a claim, you should seek legal advice straight away.  Your solicitor will be able to advise you whether your claim is valid and what you need to do next. For more information on how Cute Injury can help, get in touch..

CALL US FREE ON 08000 10 60 66 or use our CLAIM CALCULATOR

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